Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Toe in the water.

It's been a long, long January. A lot of it in a paddock a long way away from a computer. Which, while lovely, is making it a little difficult to get back into the swing of things. The world does not stop when I'm gone (where's your sense of priorities world?) which means that there's so much to catch up on. My rss feeder apparently stops counting at 1000 items to read. It's taken me a few days but I've got it back down to 3-400.

So in the interest of putting my toe back in the water of the happenings of the greater world, I'd care to offer you this. The Greens new housing policy. A while ago, Labour released one which basically said, we're going to build a bunch of low cost homes, yay!. Which was all well and good. There was however no real means of targeting those homes to lower income groups - the ones that need good solid homes the most and are currently excluded from the housing market.

The Greens have added to this by offering a scheme wherein the government builds the low cost homes and the tenants then pay the costs associated with the governments borrowing and if and when they can, make extra payments to purchase equity in the house. Superb idea. Nicely summarized here.

I think it's a good idea to target new low cost housing to low income groups. From what I hear from my town planner acquaintances, the whole idea of the market taking care of this particular problem just isn't working because all the developers building new houses (especially out of the fringes) are trafficking in high cost developers - that where a developer gets their best returns. The only other objection I think I should mention is that the high cost of sections is going to prevent all this low cost housing - i.e. the cost of a section in parts of Auckland approaching $3-4,000,000 will make building houses for $300,000 difficult. To which I call bollocks. I've not seen anything yet to suggest that all this low cost housing is going to be individual houses on individual sections. If this scheme is going to work in with Auckland cities long term plans, I dare say a lot of the new low cost housing will be medium density at least, hopefully based around decent transport/rail corridors. 

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